Dark Ages or Black Holes for Science? The Good the Bad and the Ugly

When told someone has good news/bad news for me, I ask for the bad first, so here goes.

Bad News: 1. A mission nearly 20 years in the making was intended to seek an answer to the most burning, baffling question in astronomy. The answer has the potential to predict the fate of the universe. It is now in danger of being cancelled.
2. Trump budget seeks huge cuts to disease prevention and medical research. 

Ugly News: 1.   Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution.
2. Current administration has targeted 67 environmental protections for cancellation.
33 Protections have been overturned including  inclusion of green house gas emissions in environmental reviews, anti-dumping law for coal companies, decisions on oil pipelines crossing US farms, off-shore and Arctic Refuge drilling ban, and the list continues.
24 Rollbacks are in progress including Paris climate agreement, clean power plan, auto efficiency standards, limits on toxic discharge and emission standards for power plants,
10 proposals are in limbo including emission limits on new oil & gas wells, regulation of hazardous chemicals, protections for groundwater, tributaries, and wetlands.

I do not see protection of the earth as a political issue. We are all living on the same earth and will suffer equally from its damage. .

Good News (At last): 1. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch will start getting smaller later this year. 
I am excited about this. I wrote a blog about this Netherlands  company conducting a proof of concept about a way to herd the plastic into a smaller area in order to scoop it up. Now, it’s about to become a reality.


2. Major corporations are getting on board with renewable energy. They are finding the lower costs attractive.
3. Peru is poised to protect millions of acres of forest land. Huge forests are the lungs and the medicine chest of our planet. They provide oxygen and medicine from an innumerable species of plants. Animals often have an immunity to particular diseases which with research may provide potential health benefits for humans.
This is in addition to a donation by Kristine and Douglas Tomkins (of Northface and Esprit) of over 1,000,000 acres in Chile matched by the Chilean government with 9,000,000 more acres establishing a huge park system. See the fabulous pictures of the area in Patagonia. 
4.  Our youth are angry about the state of the world and their voices will be heard. They are our future as well as their own. The only thing that will counter the corrupting influence of big money is for people to get informed and vote. I’m looking to them to help turn things around.
5. After banning plastic bags, California is going after  plastic straws.  Not only does plastic debris harm humans by way of pervading our oceans and air by leaching into the environment for human consumption, scientists are becoming concerned about the use of plastic from which we eat and drink. Even paper cups have a plastic coating on the inside. After attending a writers conference in San Francisco, where waste baskets filled quickly with plastic cups used once to drink water, as of today I am carrying my own drinking containers in my car for meetings and coffee shops. I’ve been trying to refuse straws in my drinks for some time, and recently was asked if I wanted one in a bar in Alameda! We have a ways to go, but my state is leading the way.